The King George – a race for multiple winners

The post Christmas highlight in the racing calendar is the King George Chase at Kempton and on Tuesday the big race will take place once more with six contenders set to line up. Both of Paul Nicholls’ challengers, Frodon (2020) and Bravemansgame (2022) bid for a second success in the feature and since the inception of the race in 1937, one notable factor are the number of horses who come back to win again, and in some cases on multiple occasions.

Halloween in 1952 and 1954 was the first, closely followed by the legend Mandarin 1957 & 1959. Famously Arkle only won this one occasion, it would have been two only to go lame having suffered a career ending injury in 1966.

However since the start of the 1970’s there have been a plethora of multiple winners. Pendil went back to back in 1972 & 1973, though ill-fortune meant he was never to back up with success in the Gold Cup. Captain Christy then won the next two versions, the first Irish trained horse to achieve the feat. He had already won the Gold Cup as a novice prior to this.

Michael Dickinson then dominated the race – and the National Hunt scene in general as we moved into the 1980’s. Silver Buck won in 1979 and 1980, before the race was abandoned – the only time it was never rescheduled. Wayward Lad then became the first three time winner in 1982, 83 & 85, only managing a distant third to Burrough Hill Lad in between.

He was then immediately usurped by Desert Orchid who won four times between 1986 and 1990, his winning run ending when defeated by The Fellow in 1991 – who himself followed up the next year. One Man might not have got up the Cheltenham hill in the Gold Cup, but the 3m Kign George was no issue for him winning in successive years, albeit one having been rerouted to Sandown.

See More Business and Kicking King joined the double club at the beginning of the century, but we then entered the Kauto Star era as the French born gelding became the first to gain five successes, the last coming at the age of eleven in 2011. Long Run, Silviniaco Conti and Clan Des Obeaux have all continued the trend of backing up initial successes in recent seasons and Bravemansgame looks the realistic option to join the club this week.

He and Frodon of course both represent trainer Paul Nicholls who is the ultimate multiple winner of this race with thirteen successes in total since joining the training ranks in the early 1990’s.

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